|Birth: ||Aug. 10, 1898|
|Death: ||May 28, 1988|
Philip Meriwether Lewis, MD
by Ralph S. Hamilton, MD
ALTHOUGH ITS BRINGS TEARS TO MY EYES, IT FALLS MY DUTY TO REPORT THAT Doctor Philip Meriwether Lewis died on May 28, 1988 from complications of a hip fracture sustained in a fall on the tennis court approximately two months from his 90th birthday.
Philip Meriwether Lewis was born on August 10, 1898 on a small farm called "Airslie" in Albemarle County, Virginia, near the village of Cismont. He was the tenth child of Thomas Walker Lewis and Jane Walker Page Lewis, both from prominent families who were pioneers and leaders in the State of Virginia and the County of Albemarle for more than two centuries. The Civil War had wrought havoc with the financial affairs of the South and with the Lewis and Page families in particular. Until the age of 12 he was taught at home by his mother, a woman of tremendous courage and indomitable will, who taught not only her own flock of children but many from the surrounding countryside. For four years he attended The Miller School of Albemarle County, graduating at age 16. Premedical and medical education were at the University of Virginia where he received his Medical Degree in June 1920 at age 21, the youngest man in his class. He was honored by membership in the honorary Raven Society and Alpha Omega Alpha. Being an ardent alumnus of the University of Virginia, he was interested in students from this area going to his Alma Mater and served as Chairman of the Scholarship Committee for 20years.
After one year of general internship, he served a three-year residency at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. In September 1924 he started in the Practice of Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat with his brother, Doctor A. C. Lewis in the Exchange Building in Memphis.The partnership continued until his brother's death in 1944. In 1940 all Ear, Nose and Throat work was discontinued. The examination of The American Board of Ophthalmology were taken and passed in Dallas in 1926. He became a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology in 1928. He wrote his thesis for the American Ophthalmological Society on "Eye Complications of Meningococcic Meningitis" based on the study of 350 cases of cerebrospinal meningitis occurring in Memphis in 1930-1933.
During his early years in Memphis, with little private practice, he worked in the Eye Clinic of the University of Tennessee and the Memphis Eye and Ear Hospital three days a week. After a few years this was reduced to two days and continued for 36 years.Teaching in the classrooms and eye clinics began in 1924 and was continued for about 45 years, first as an instructor and gradually advancing to Clinical Professor and Chief of Ophthalmology, a post held from 1944 though 1969, a span of 25 years. In 1945 he started the residency training program of the University of Tennessee at the John Gaston Hospital which was later combined with the program of the Memphis Eye and Ear Hospital, which was started in 1926.
In 1967 he was honored in a very singular manner by the University of Tennessee. The new eye clinic in the Gailor Memorial Building was named the"The Philip M. Lewis Eye Clinic." At a very impressive ceremony his portrait, commissioned by the University and painted by Paul Penzner, was unveiled before a group of friends and colleagues.
For many years Doctor Lewis served as an attending Ophthalmologist to every hospital in Memphis. He was Chief of Staff of the Memphis Eye and Ear Hospital for several years, Chief of Ophthalmology at the Methodist Hospital from 1966 to 1971, and Chief of Ophthalmology at the John Gaston and City of Memphis Hospitals from 1944 to 1969.
Doctor Lewis authored 30 scientific papers during his career. Fifteen articles were published in National Journals, the rest in State and local journals. For about 20 years he gave instruction courses at The Academy meetings and has lectured at the Universities of Michigan, Cincinnati, Toronto, and British Columbia. He was a guest speaker before the Ophthalmological Societies of Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Doctor Lewis was honored by the eye Section of the Southern Medical Association at its 1969 meeting in Atlanta. One of the days of the meeting was designated the "Philip M. Lewis Day" and he was presented with a bronze plaque for services to the organization.
Doctor Lewis served as President of the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society and of the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology, both in 1955. He was a Vice President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology in 1957 and chairman of the Section of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology in 1957 and chairman of the Section of Ophthalmology of the Southern Medical Association in 1965. He considered his highest honor to be the President of the American Ophthalmological Society in 1967.
Doctor Lewis was a member of The Memphis Country Club where he was a regular tennis player. He was fond of hunting and a long time member of the Hatchie Coon Hunting and Fishing Club. Doctor Lewis was committed to tennis and for many years insisted that he and I should get the residents out for this every Wednesday afternoon. He won the American Ophthalmology Society tennis championship several years.The last time was with me when he was 80 years of age.
My association with Doctor Lewis was long, pleasant, and uplifting. He lead one to be more exacting in ones' diagnoses, more skillful in one's surgery, more faithful in one's attendance at continuing medical education courses, more compassionate towards ones' patients and fellow man,more forgiving of others' weaknesses, and more disciplined in ones' personal and work life.
Doctor Lewis married Ruth Marie Kitchens of New Orleans in 1925. She died in 1977. He married Hilda McClaran in 1982 and is survived by her and his daughter Jean Price. Another daughter, Meriwether, died in 1985. There are five granddaughters and eight great-grandchildren.
He will be greatly missed by his family, his many colleagues and friends.
Thomas Walker Lewis (1850 - 1917)
Jane Walker Page Lewis (1851 - 1945)
Ruth Marie Kitchens Lewis (1902 - 1977)
Hilda Godwin McClaran Lewis (1920 - 2009)
Meriwether Lewis Fargason (1929 - 1986)*
Frederick Page Lewis (1875 - 1933)*
Archibald Cary Lewis (1877 - 1944)*
Alice Page Lewis Jones (1879 - 1975)*
Thomas Walker Lewis (1881 - 1969)*
Isabel Lewis Davis (1883 - 1959)*
Anne Kinloch Lewis Warren (1887 - 1986)*
Frank Nelson Lewis (1890 - 1919)*
Philip Meriwether Lewis (1898 - 1988)
Note: TMIS 
Saint Johns Episcopal Cemetery
Maintained by: The Meriwether Society, ...
Originally Created by: Anonymous
Record added: Mar 14, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8505983